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Showing posts from July, 2018

Sermon, "Parables of Jesus: Parable of the Shrewd Manger," Luke 16:1-13

Sermon 7/29/18 Luke 16:1-13
Parables of Jesus: Parable of the Shrewd Manager

I think there are two categories of scriptures that I would call really difficult. The first category is where I think most of them fall. It isn’t so much that the text is hard to understand, but that I find it hard to put into practice. When Jesus talks about loving your enemies, I understand what he’s saying, but I find it difficult to do. When he talks about taking care that we don’t love our possessions and our money too much, I know exactly what he means, but I find that I have to remind myself of his teaching again and again. The other category of difficult texts is the group of passages where I honestly don’t understand what a passage is supposed to mean. Thankfully, even though I believe I can never fully understand a passage without a sit down with God explaining all the nuances to me, there aren’t many passages that seem totally confusing. Unfortunately, today’s text is one of them. And today, we’re di…

Sermon, "Parables of Jesus: Parables of Lost Things," Luke 15

Sermon 7/22/18 Luke 15

Parables of Jesus: Parables of Lost Things

Have you ever been lost? Sure, I think all of us have made wrong turns before when we’re traveling somewhere, and undoubtedly, some of us make more wrong turns than others. My mother, honestly, I’m not sure how she made it anywhere before the advent of GPS. Usually, when we’ve made a wrong turn, even if we don’t know where we are, we know how to get back to something we recognize. Have you ever felt the panic of being truly lost? The closest thing that comes to my mind didn’t involve me moving from where I was at all, and yet feeling totally panicked and lost. My oldest cousin is 9 years older than me, and she used to come and stay with us for a couple of weeks every summer. I adored her. One summer, when I was about 6, and Heather was 15, we went to the mall. I think my parents were somewhere else in the building shopping, and Heather took me to have lunch at my favorite pizza place in the food court. Part way through our…

Sermon, "Voices from Prison: Paul and Silas," Acts 16:16-40

Sermon 7/15/18
Acts 16:16-40


Voices from Prison: Paul and Silas
Of the many folks we hear about who end up in prison in the Bible, the apostle Paul probably spends the most time there. As I mentioned last week, some of the epistles in the Bible, the letters, are letters that were written by Paul while in prison. Philippians, Philemon, and Colossians were all written by Paul while he was in prison, although we’re not always sure which of Paul’s multiple times in prison is the setting for each letter. It’s not surprising that he ends up in jail so frequently. He’s a Jewish man, preaching about this person Jesus Christ, and wherever he goes, he’s sharing a message that is in stark contrast to those who hear him. Many of his fellow Jewish leaders don’t appreciate his understanding of Judaism and how he speaks about Jesus as someone who both fulfills and transcends the law, and the Gentiles - the non-Jews to whom Paul preached most often don’t understand his or appreciate his Jewish identity …

A Sung Communion for the Season after Pentecost/Ordinary Time: Blessed Assurance

A Sung Communion for the Season after Pentecost/Ordinary Time: Blessed Assurance TUNE: ASSURANCE (UMH #369)
Lift up your hearts, friends, time to give thanks! Time now to gather, our voices to raise! Called to the table, hearts turned to God,   Come to meet Christ here, come now to praise.

Refrain: This is God’s table; come find your place. Table of blessing, table of grace. This is God’s table, this is God’s gift. We are invited; come to the feast!

In God’s own image, we come to life. God offers to us abundance and grace. But we sought rather for power, success, Losing our way and losing our place.

*Prophets and poets, judges and kings, God working through them, a message to bring. We did not listen, we would not hear. We closed our hearts to all God would share.

Refrain: This is God’s table; come find your place. Table of blessing, table of grace. This is God’s table, this is God’s gift. We are invited; come to the feast!